How To Make Friends at a Marina

May 11, 2014 (Mother’s Day!):

There are two ways, either 1) cook up a savory dinner on the community grill, open a box of wine and invite everyone to share it, or 2) play the best loud music, open a box of wine, and invite everyone to share it.  It’s doesn’t take much really.

Our second day at the Port St. Joe Marina, we headed back to the Piggly Wiggly to provision up.  Since we’re the roughneck, backpack-sporting cruiser type, I’m sure we do come across as ominous thieves.  Or, Phillip does at least, because the Piggly Wiggle backpack Nazi confiscated his backpack–again–the minute we walked through the door.


Why do I document these things you might ask.  Because I find them hilarious.

Another hilarious quality of the Pig–the full spectrum, scope and line of official “Larry the Cable Guy” processed products.  Let’s see, you’ve got your …

Larry the Cable Guy Hamburger Dinner (just add burger!).


Larry the Cable Guy Cheesy Tuna Dinner (when you want the other white meat).


Larry the Cable Guy Beer Bread (“just add beer & butter”).


A full array of Larry the Cable Guy Seasonings.


And, let us not forget, the variety of Larry the Cable Guy “Tater Chips” (TM)–Barbeque Rib and “Pass the Dang Ketchup.”


Mmmm-Mmmm good!

After an appetizing stroll through the Wiggly market, we headed back over to our favorite lunch spot in PSJ–Peppers Mexican Grill–home of the “Clean Plate Club,” where Phillip and I filled up to the gills last time on their $12 burrito that comes with an endless supply of chips and salsa.  This time we opted for the monstrous taco salad and carne tacos, complete (as always) with an endless supply of hot, homemade chips and salsa.

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De-lish!  But, also super filling.  We had to walk about two miles just to feel normal again.  Port St. Joe is certainly not a bad place to do it though, with plenty of picturesque, scenic walking trails and coves.

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You are here.

We perused the docks,


met the infamous PSJ local, Larry, who gave us the infamous “If you’re bumping into things … ” line (a real character),

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got invited to tour some pretty sweet new boats–a 2013 Seaward Unlimited–

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and checked out the marina grill situation to scope out our prospects for dinner.

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We decided the grill was a-go, so we hauled all of our fixins and a box of wine over to the grill to set up shop and cook up a fine pork tenderloin with roasted broccoli for dinner.

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But, when you get a slab of meat like this going on the community grill at a marina full of hungry old salts, I’ll tell you what happens …

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you start making friends.  Real fast.


“Mmmm … what ya’ll cooking up there?”  They seemed to come from everywhere.  All walks of life.  All different kinds of boats and cruising backgrounds.  I had to make several trips back to the boat to get more wine and food and we ended up piece-mealing the pork out and sharing with everyone.  We had a great time mixing with the locals, though.  And, I have to say, the older the couple, the more hilarious they seemed to be.  I spent most of the evening chatting with this one couple, I can’t quite recall their names–something like Edna and Burt–who’d been cruising together for something like 20 years.  Edna would say of Burt, “Awww, hell.  I don’t think he can tell the difference between my boobs and my stern at this point.”  But, then she’d lean over to me and whisper, “to be fair, there ain’t much difference, but, I’m never fair to Burt!”  I loved those old coons.

Phillip and I thought we were the real showmen of the marina.  Cooking up a fine feast, feeding everyone and sharing tall tales from our mis-adventures as the sun set on the friendly folk of the marina.

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But, we were amateurs.  Earlier that day a fleet of trawlers had pulled in, the leader of the pack, s/v Island Time, having docked right behind us, stern to stern.


We could hear their rockin’ 70s classics blaring out eight boats back as we packed up our fixins at the grill and started making our way back to our boat.  Having shut the community dinner down around 9:00 p.m., we had every intention to go straight back to the boat for a good night’s rest as we planned to get up early the next morning and head out from Port St. Joe to make the 24-hour run home to Pensacola.  But, it soon became clear that was not going to happen.  “You are a dancing queen!” thumped through the cabin of our boat, and Phillip and I joked that it was now the s/v Plaintiff’s UN-Rest.

A raspy female voice broke through the music and laughter, shouting at us through our companionway.  “We’re not going to get any quieter, so y’all just better come join us!”  It was our last night in Port St. Joe, our last night to be docked in foreign waters, and our last night on the trip.  Our last night!  And, we were planning to rest?  “Screw it,” we said, grabbed a half-full box of wine, two glasses and headed over.  And, these folks …  If I thought Edna and Burt were entertaining, the Island Time crew blew them right the heck out of the water.  They danced and sang, danced and sang, belting out every lyric to every song that poured out of the speakers.  They had an awesome mixtape station going, too–the BEST kind of oldies–like Lying Eyes (Eagles), Dancing Queen (ABBA), I’d Really Love to See You Tonight (Mix), Baby Come Back (Player), Sail On (Commodores), I Can’t Go For That (Hall & Oates), I Can’t Tell You Why (Eagles), I Wanna Know What Love Is (Foreigner), It Must Have Been Love (Roxie), Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler).  You see what I mean?  The good damn stuff!

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If you can’t beat ’em (or sleep through it!), might as well join ’em.  There’s the Plaintiff’s Rest there!


And, they kept passing around this microphone, with a long dangling cord, that should have been plugged into something (probably a Singalodeon from the 80’s),


but it wasn’t.  They just wadded up the cord, wire-tied it and sang into it any way, at the top of their lungs.  One of the gals told us “It’s a wireless!” with a “Get it?” smile and nod.

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Those “oldies but goodies” sure showed us how to friggin party.  I can only hope I’m half as a bad-ass as they are at that age, pulling my massive trawler up to the marina, breaking out the “wireless mic” and inviting everybody in the damn place over to a fully-stocked open bar and a full-out oldies dance party.  I snuck some from our cockpit when I went back for another box of wine.  You can see Phillip sitting on their boat, cracking up at the sight of it.


But, it only makes you want to go over, step aboard and find yourself the full breadth of it–on their boat, surrounded by incredible, fun-loving folks who could give a damn about what anyone else thought.  They gave us yet another wildly-entertaining Keys Trip tale to tell and made our last night truly unforgettable.  Thank you Island Time!  

Sing it with me now–“You are a Dancing Queen!  Young and sweet, only se-ven-teeeeen!”